My title comes from an unsolicited comment by a listener next to me at this set at the 2011 Sweet and Hot Music Festival. It’s all true!
JAZZ LIVES readers will know of my admiration for the Reynolds Brothers, nurtured through videos, recordings, and encountering them in the flesh at Monterey by the Bay in March 2011). They hit new heights in set after set at this Los Angeles music extravaganza, and I captured as much as I could.
The band began with the regulars plus one: that’s Ralf on washboard, banter, the occasional vocal, and serious moral leadership; his younger brother John on guitar, vocal, whistling, and commentaries; Marc Caparone on cornet, thermodynamics, and vocal; Katie Cavera on string bass and sweet singing. Add to that mix one Larry Wright on alto saxophone, ocarina, and the occasional toy instrument . . . that would be enough for anyone. But the guest star was the irrepressible (perhaps “unchained” would be more appropriate) clarinetist Bob Draga . . . and a figure appeared to my left early on — none other than Dan Barrett on trombone, head-arrangements-while-you-wait and riffs (no waiting); later on, pianist David Boeddinghaus came on board.
(An aside: someone said to me, “Isn’t it nice how the Reynolds Brothers invite all those musicians to join them?” “It is nice,” I said, “but it’s the other way around: the Brothers swing so hard that everyone wants to sit in with them.”)
They began their first set with I MAY BE WRONG (both humble and incorrect):
Dan Barrett is long out of diapers, but he showed up early on in I FOUND A NEW BABY:
Katie sang and swung DOWN AMONG THE SHELTERING PALMS, a performance notable also for the impromptu duets among the sheltering front line:
Having found that new baby, it would be natural for fondness to develop into adoration — thus I’M CRAZY ‘BOUT MY BABY (note sly David Boeddinghus finding his way to the piano bench, happily for us):
I knew Harry White (“Father” White in the Cab Calloway trombone section) as the composer of EVENIN’ — but we must credit him with another opus, the indescribably-titled FUTURISTIC JUNGLEISM (which is also the title of a Reynolds Brothers CD):
Telepathically, John Reynolds answered my silent request for another version of TUCK ME TO SLEEP IN MY OLD ‘TUCKY HOME:
And the set closed with James P. Johnson’s ode to abandon, RUNNIN’ WILD:
When this musical exaltation was over, I said to no one in particular, “Now I can go home!” because I felt so uplifted by what I heard, a completely fulfilling musical experience. Happily, I didn’t . . . .
P.S. The Brothers aren’t really attired in pink suits or deep purple dreams at the start; it was a trick of the interior lighting. And thanks to Laurie Whitlock for her generous guidance: I’ll be back next year!